Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

RSS, Catholic Bishops' Council Welcome PM Modi Meeting Pope Francis In Vatican

The RSS said PM Modi's meeting with Pope Francis was enhancing the prestige of the nation while KCBC said the PM’s decision to invite the pontiff to India was a historic one.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis AP Photo

The RSS and the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC), a body of Catholic Bishops in the State,  on Saturday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican.

The RSS said the the meeting was enhancing the prestige of the nation while KCBC said the PM’s  decision to invite the pontiff to India was a historic one.

The Prime Minister, who is in Italy to attend the G20 Summit, met the head of the Roman Catholic church in Vatican on Saturday and invited him to visit India at an early date.

"What is wrong if the head of the government meets anyone in the existing civil system in the world? We welcome it because we believe in 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (the world is one family). We respect all the religions," the RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale told reporters in Bengaluru.

He was talking to reporters on the last day of the three-day Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal (ABKM) meeting.

"It is a matter of pleasure that the Prime Minister is meeting the heads of other nations and is increasing the prestige of our nation," Hosabale said.

He also maintained that it was for the head of the government to meet another head of the government and the decision is left to the government whom they want to meet. 

 The KCBC said in a release stated, "Inviting Pope Francis to India was a historic decision and this will raise the stature of the country among the nations of the world. His visit will help to strengthen the diplomatic relation between both the countries. It will also help to nurture the relationship between various sects of Christianity and other religions,"

Cardinal Mar George Alenchery, the president of the KCBC, said all Indians, especially Christians, are glad to learn about the invitation extended by Modi.

"We hope the Pope will visit India soon. The Pope's visit will pave the way for fostering brotherhood and co-operation in a pluralistic India," Alenchery said.

The KCBC appreciated Modi for extending the invitation.

This was the first meeting between an Indian Prime Minister and the Pope in more than two decades. In June 2000, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had last visited the Vatican and met the then Pope, His Holiness John Paul II.

India and The Holy See have friendly relations dating back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948. India is home to the second largest Catholic population in Asia.

The last Papal Visit happened in 1999 when Vajpayee (now deceased) was the Prime Minister.

(With PTI inputs)